A SERIES of in-person and virtual events will take place aimed at giving residents the chance to help shape the future of St Helens Library Service.

St Helens Borough Council launched a 12-week consultation to gain a better understanding of how libraries are being used and what changes people would like to see.

As well as an online questionnaire, the council has arranged to independent social enterprise PLACED to deliver workshop-style events for residents to share their thoughts and ideas for a modern and inclusive library service.

An online workshop will take place on Tuesday, July 13 between 12pm and 1.30pm where key stakeholders and interested parties will explore how local people could be more involved in the future of the library.

Bookings for this event can be made by visiting https://sthelens-library-consultation.eventbrite.co.uk

Earlestown Market will host a pop-up event on Friday, July 30 between 10.30am and 2.30pm where PLACED will have their campervan for an informal drop-in session, and bookings are not required.

The pop-up events in St Helens town centre will be held on Thursday, August 26 and Friday, August 27 between 10.30am and 2.30pm on Church Street outside Burtons, and bookings are not required.

Another online workshop will be held on Thursday, September 2 between 6pm and 8pm where PLACED will host an open session providing feedback on some of the key issues that residents have raised during previous events as well as give other people the opportunity to highlight anything that might have been missed.

Booking for this online sessions is required by visiting https://st-helens-library-consultation-feeding-back.eventbrite.co.uk

Cllr Anthony Burns, St Helens Borough Council’s cabinet member for wellbeing, culture and heritage, said: “We’re all proud of our library services and the offer they provide.

“However, it is well known that the council has to make significant budget savings in the next year because financial support from central government has been shrunk from £127million per year in 2010 to just £12million this year.

“We have a statutory duty to deliver a free library service to all who live, work or study in the borough, although the department for culture, media and sport allows a wide range of approaches when deciding how library services can be run.

“Some areas in the UK, such as Essex and Doncaster, have changed to a community-led management model, and we’re keen to hear from individuals, community groups, parish councils and businesses to explore the idea of introducing this approach here in St Helens borough.

“Our new strategy is about working with communities on how we shape library services to be a part of their future.

“That is why it is so vital that we hear from you about what you want to see from our service, and we'd love to hear from community groups and partners interested in how library services could be delivered in their area.”